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How Long Do Non Stick Pans Last?

Published by: Chef Matty Riedel • Updated: October 26, 2023

Non-stick pans are an extremely useful tool in the domestic kitchen (but not preferred by chefs – here’s why). You can cook food using less oil and of course cleaning them up is also easy. But as all good things come to an end, these pans are not meant to last forever.

In this piece, we will tell you all about that, how to recognize when it is time to give them up and what you can do in the meantime to extend their shelf life. Let’s begin.

How Long Do Non Stick Pan Last?

Usually, non-stick pans (frying pans and saucepans) have a Teflon coating which is why they last for three to five years. If your pan is coated with ceramic, it can last for a couple of years. But some pans have multiple layers of Teflon or a reinforced non-stick coating which makes the pans last the longest of them all.

Now, the trick is to remember that pans that don’t get scratched too often tend to last a long time. This is true of all cookware, but in some cases, the extra coatings protect them from small scratches and general wear and tear from cooking.

A lot of high-end pans come with these extra layers, which is why they are value for money even when they seem to be a bit pricey. Some companies go to great lengths to make this happen, which is why branded items are more worth your money. Their durability is how the brand maintains its reputation.

But that doesn’t mean they are indestructible, which is why over time, the coating will wear off and it is time to get rid of them. So, no matter what kind of non-stick pan you have, you should let them go after five years.

When To Get Rid Of Them?

There are different signs which tell you when it is time to replace your existing non-stick pans with new ones. Let’s take a look.

Warped Pans

This is perhaps the most obvious one. It is not necessarily dangerous to cook in warped pans, but the quality of your food will deteriorate because the surface of the pan will be uneven and food does not get cooked evenly because the temperature will not be evenly distributed.


If the discoloration is caused due to food build up that is not necessarily a bad thing. And a little bit of discoloration is bound to happen over time. But if you notice that it is dark in color, it means that the non-stick coating is getting peeled off and the pan is getting damaged due to wear and tear. That’s a good time to replace the pans.

how long do non stick pans last before they start looking like this?

Major Scratches On The Surface

As the pans get older, the scratches on their surface increase. Now, Teflon pans that were made pre-2013 used to have a chemical called perfluorooctanoic acid or PFOA which is manmade and carcinogenic.

This is definitely a deal-breaker for non-stick pans made of Teflon. So, if you start to see scratches on these kinds of pans, it is best to get rid of them because they are slowly turning into a health hazard.

How To Make Non-Stick Pans Last Longer?

But worry not. There are a few things you can do to maintain the quality of these non-stick pans to make sure you get the most of your money’s worth. So, three to five years is the standard, but if you follow these tips regularly, you can make them last longer. Here are some dos and don’ts for using non-stick pans.

Don’t Use Cooking Sprays

A lot of people who use non-stick pans tend to use cooking sprays to make sure that the pan is greased before they start cooking. While this is a good temporary solution, it is a bad move in the long run because it starts to build layers on the surface of the pan as the pan is heated.

It is also tough to clean the pan after using these sprays which means you will have to use more force which is damaging to the quality of the pan.

Instead, you might want to use oil, fat or butter to grease the pan if your goal is to make sure that the food doesn’t stick to the pan (even less than it will on a typical non-stick pan).

Don’t Store the Pans Together

You might think that stacking the pans is a great way to store them without taking up a lot of space. And while the pile is a good visual, it does have a greater chance of getting damaged.

saucepan storage in a large kitchen

Since most of these pans are made of metal, staking them on top of each other will expose the base metal of one pan to the non-stick coating of another. This kind of friction between metallic surfaces leaves them vulnerable to scratches.

And these scratches will affect the way your pan is heated. So, if you want to pile them up to save space, you should place a protective surface like a towel in between the many pans.

Don’t Heat Or Cool Them Too Quickly In A Short Time

Those of us who don’t have much time to spare for cooking tend to do this quite a bit. This is not a great idea for any kind of pan, but it is a really bad way to handle non-stick pans in particular.

You don’t want to cool them down immediately after heating them to high temperatures. In fact, don’t heat them to a very high temperature at all if you can help it. And if you do, wait till they come to room temperature before you dump them in a sink and pour cold water on them.

These sudden temperature changes could cause the pan to warp or the surface to erode sooner than it should. So, take your time heating or cooling down non-stick pans.

how long do non-stick pans last?

Don’t Wash Them In The Dishwasher

Even if the manufacturer says that the pan is dishwasher safe, you want to avoid this if you want the pan to last longer. The temperatures, pressure and harsh detergents can strip the non-stick coating sooner. This reduces their lifespan and affects their performance too.

Instead, soak the pans in soapy water and wash them by hand. Since they are quite easy to clean by design, this should not be a huge problem. Also, don’t use abrasive sponges to clean them.

Wrapping Up

Depending on the type of non-stick coating on your pan, it can last anywhere from one to five years. There are a few ways to make sure it functions well for all those years. And there are a few ways to make it last longer than that. Now you know them all.

Chef and Restaurant Owner Matty Riedel
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